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PM expressed willingness to resign: sources

All Headlines 21:49 June 04, 2010

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Chung Un-chan expressed his willingness to resign over the defeat of the ruling party in regional elections, official sources said Friday.

A government source who declined to be identified said the premier had met President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday and offered to resign.

Lee persuaded the premier to stay, however, citing the need to come up with ways to reflect the wishes of voters, the source said.

Others close to the ruling camp corroborated the claim and said Chung will continue to serve as prime minister.

Chung had championed controversial projects such as developing major rivers while opposing the construction of a new administrative city in South Chungcheong Province to house most government ministries. Such issues have been cited as contributing factors for the Grand National Party's defeat at the polls.

The GNP, which swept the regional elections just four years ago, won only six of the 16 mayoral and gubernatorial posts, while the main opposition Democratic Party grabbed seven, and a minor conservative party and independents secured the remaining three seats.

The meeting took a day before the president left for Singapore to take part in an annual gathering of top military officials from the U.S., South Korea, China and two dozen other nations. The two also discussed how best to cope with the political fallout of Wednesday's election.

The presidential office and the prime minister's office, meanwhile, officially denied the report, stressing that Chung did not make any suggestions about resigning.

"They met, but the nature of the meeting did not warrant such discussions taking place," said Kim Chang-young, the spokesman for the prime minister.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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